At the time of writing this piece, I have just completed 31 years as a member of the Orchestra of Opera North (along with 8 or 9 of my colleagues). I can’t believe that I am still here (and nor can some of my work-mates!) It feels great to have been ever-present during the development of a new Orchestra and Opera Company. I have seen huge changes, but I feel that the Company now is in better shape than ever. I feel as committed now as I did on October 16 1978 – except that these days I have to fit golf around work. As for the Howard Assembly Room (HAR) – wonderful. I was actually not really looking forward to having to travel into town every day to work as the West Park Centre (where the Orchestra used to rehearse) is only 15 minutes walk from my house – with the added advantage of free parking. But I do see the value of finally having the entire company under one roof – it makes a big psychological difference. The room itself is terrific; the acoustic is warm without being too boomy and the furnishings are extremely pleasant. The roof is amazing. As a recital room HAR is even better. I have already done a concert in it with the Café Band and am looking forward immensely to performing with Ian Buckle in our Twilight tomorrow (October 23.) He’s a great pianist. I am also relishing playing on “Mr Guadagnini” – my violin. When I say “my violin” I mean the violin owned by the ‘Yorkshire Guadagnini 1757 Syndicate’. I own a quarter of it – including the G String!!!! I never used to get too excited about violins. I always had an Italian violin of good quality and it did a fine job for me. But I found that when I met Mr Guadagnini I suddenly realized what an incredible work of art a fine violin is. It is so beautiful to look at and for me the sound is utterly luxurious – still plays out of tune sometimes though!!